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Super Handyman: Prepare grill for entertaining

It’s a good thing that I didn’t want to use the grill for our last party. I was moving it and saw just how dirty it was right before the party started. I have devised a basic plan that you can use to spruce up your grill. This will make it bright and shiny, and ready to use before the next party.

If your grill runs on gas, always make sure that the gas supply is turned off before doing any cleaning or adjustments.

Remove all parts that can be taken out so you can really get in there and clean it well. Baking soda and water make a great cleaner. The mixture will remove even tough, greasy messes from surfaces. You can make a thicker paste from it and leave it over especially bad spots, and come back and clean them off later. If you want to use some extra muscle, grab a plastic scrubber pad from the kitchen.

The grates easily can be cleaned just by placing them in a garbage bag with some ammonia on them. Tightly seal up the bag and let the fumes do the work overnight, if you can wait that long. A little scrubbing afterward will remove the stubborn stuff.

Clean gas jets on gas grills with a toothpick or some straightened wire.

If your grill has an ignitor, make sure it’s working. These need to be replaced after a year or two, and it’s easy to do with a screwdriver. Check your local grill dealer for supplies, or order parts online for your grill.

Make sure that the handles are firmly attached, and tighten any loose or missing screws before using it.

If you are missing dials or other parts, order these when you get a chance so you can replace them.

If your grill runs on gas, spring for a gauge that shows you how much gas is left in your tank.

You also might consider getting a nice cover for your grill. This will prevent it from getting rusty from weather conditions, too.


Q: I really like expanding foam, and have used it to fill in gaps in several spots around my house. I’ve put up with some of the mess, but got some on my favorite shoes. How does one get this stuff off of things? – N.E.

A: Sadly, I know of nothing that will remove it. If it were me, and it has been me before, I would get an old toothbrush and some Spray ’n Wash and see if I could get as much off as possible. Good luck, and wear shoe covers or old shoes next time.

Super HandyMom tip

I have a three-tier shoe holder that is made of two horizontal bars for each row. It’s fine for heels, but flats and sandals just slip right off. I fixed it by running wide masking tape around the bars from one end to the other to fill in the areas between them. The shoes stay put now. You could even run the tape the other way, with the sticky side out, for even more effective storage.


Cleaning the grout between your tiles is a tough chore – and for large floors, it’s an epic chore! I just ran across a cool product called the Grout Gator. The specially designed head has five adjustable brushes, just wide enough to scrub those dirty grout lines. Set the Grout Gator on your floor or wall and clean it the easy way. You can install an extension pole on it – and even add more brushes for smaller tiles or to replace any that might become damaged. Check it out at, where you can find out where’s sold.

Clean grout lines are a beautiful thing!